by Mike Slodki
For the 2009 season, Kaneland girls track has a slew of returning athletes, some whom have seen State action.
Thatâ€™s good news for the Lady Knights program, and downright scary for opposing teams.
Pat Sheetz, in his 32nd year of heading the girls program, has 45 athletes that have worked out the kinks in the indoor season and are ready to tackle the outdoor campaign head on.
â€œWe have a pretty good idea where people fit, and in other spots, people will separate themselves and weâ€™ll see what our lineup is as the season goes on,â€ Sheetz said.
Any discussion of the Kaneland track program needs to start with University of Northern Iowa-signee and three-time State qualifier Lindsay Gierke. Gierke qualified in the 200m hurdles and 100m hurdles.
â€œI think sheâ€™ll be way better than last year,â€ Sheetz said. â€œShe can do the job and sheâ€™ll have no problem hitting the times she wants to hit.â€
Sophomore Andie Strang returns after having qualified for the 800m run a year ago.
â€œThe talent is there, and the toughness is there in how she approaches things,â€ Sheetz said about Strang.
Looking to make things happen in the distance ranks for the Lady Knights are personnel like Lisa Roberson, whoâ€™s â€œdoing real well so far, and weâ€™re expecting even more out of her,â€ Sheetz said. Kris Bowen also looks to make an impact in the distance events, allowing with freshman Kelly Evers, Laney Deligianis, Carolina Tovar, Jessica Stouffer, Brianna Stark and Jordan Krawczyk.
Maggie Dawe and Sydney Billotta will also get their chances at distance and sprints, if needed. Gierke, Krissy Chapman, Mackenzie Curran and Bilotta work the sprints, while new personnel like Tesa Alderman, Arianna Espino and freshman Jordyn Lawrence also look to get their shot in that category.
The relays are up for grabs. â€œWeâ€™re playing around with options, we have seven kids that could be thrown in there, just a matter of how they progress,â€ Sheetz said.
Strang and Roberson were among those who saw time last year in the relays.
The field events see girls like Jordan Pinkston in the pole vault. Pinkston, who has reached 9 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault in the indoor season, qualified for the indoor State meet in Bloomington. Sara Wallace, Katie Bergman, Taylor Olson and Shannon Wallace also look to make a mark in the vault.
Newcomer Lindsay Douglas, Kelli Patterson and Stark could see time at the triple jump, with Patterson trying her hand the high and long jump.
Fifteen throwers fill the Lady Knights roster including returnee Alyssa Galvan. Lauren Whittaker and Katie Weiss also bring needed experience to the shot and discus. Newcomers to the event are senior Kathleen Kuhar, Mel Mazuc, Keara Palpant and Nicole Ketza. Kelsey Gould, Elicia Dibella, Deva Shamely and Erin Hanold will get their shot at various events, as well. Other members looking for their shot are Athina Ajazi, Ashley Augusty, Amelia Napiorkowski, Lexie Pniewski, Grace Snyder, Meggen Southern, and Julia Wittbrodt.
Improvement will bring about team-wide success.
â€œI can see us really improving in all events. Weâ€™re just putting everything together and putting people in the right events, and itâ€™ll take care of themselves.